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The Prospects of 2002

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Top Prospects of 2002

  1. Hank Blalock, 3B: Damn fine player.
  2. Josh Beckett, RHP: Great when healthy.
  3. Sean Burroughs, 3B: Has hit for average, but no power. Somewhat disappointing.
  4. Carlos Pena, 1B: Hee Seop Choi of the American League.
  5. Wilson Betemit, SS: Still developing, somewhat disappointing but still has a chance.
  6. Dennis Tankersley, RHP: Undone by control problems and off-field issues.
  7. Mark Teixeira, 3B: Damn fine player.
  8. Juan Cruz, RHP: Has pitched very well at times, when his command is on.
  9. Mark Prior, RHP: Outstanding pitcher when healthy.
  10. Nick Johnson, 1B: Plagued with injuries.
  11. Mike Cuddyer, 3B: Solid player, not a star.
  12. Austin Kearns, OF: Hitting version of Mark Prior.
  13. Angel Berroa, SS: 2003 Rookie of the Year, otherwise erratic.
  14. Jake Peavy, RHP: Great when healthy.
  15. Kelly Johnson, SS: Bat stagnated, now an outfielder, still a prospect but not like he used to be.
  16. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B: Looks like a pretty solid line drive hitter for the long run.
  17. Hee Seop Choi, 1B: The National League Carlos Pena.
  18. Gabe Gross, OF: Got hot this spring.
  19. Brandon Claussen, LHP: Injuries sapped his fastball.
  20. Boof Bonser, RHP: In Triple-A, has lost some luster but still a prospect.
  21. Joe Borchard, OF: The Drew Henson of outfielders.
  22. Jayson Werth, C: Role player.
  23. Ben Broussard, 1B: Dangerous power from the left side, but erratic.
  24. Joe Mauer, C: Excellent. It looks like his knee is holding up.
  25. Rafael Soriano, RHP: Injuries.
  26. Jeff Heaverlo, RHP: Injuries.
  27. Corwin Malone, LHP: Injuries, control problems.
  28. Brandon Phillips, SS: Looks bad right now. Certainly not the Barry Larkin-type many (including me) expected.
  29. Jose Miguel Cabrera, SS: Excellent.
  30. Chin-Feng Chen, OF: Faded in Triple-A. Lost his speed, became a one-dimensional slugger.
  31. Dewon Brazelton, RHP: Should be an adequate pitcher, not a star.
  32. Drew Henson, 3B: Football bust.
  33. Kenny Baugh, RHP: Got hurt, still a prospect but not as good as before.
  34. Justin Morneau, 1B: Impressive young power hitter, Kent Hrbek without the beer belly.
  35. John Buck, C: Erratic hitter, but should hold his job.
  36. Chris Burke, 2B: Should be a fine, fine player.
  37. Jimmy Journell, RHP: Injuries.
  38. Xavier Nady, 1B: Could be breaking through this year.
  39. Adam Wainwright, RHP: Injuries last year, still a prospect.
  40. Chris Snelling, OF: Plays great when healthy, but never healthy.
  41. Morgan Ensberg, 3B: See prospect retrospective.
  42. Carlos Hernandez, LHP: Has pitched OK at times, erratic. An average pitcher.
  43. Brad Thomas, LHP: Erratic, has had injury problems.
  44. Aaron Heilman, RHP: Big disappointment, still has a chance.
  45. Jose Reyes, SS: Good young player.
  46. Marlon Byrd, OF: Very erratic, great in '03 but bad in '04.
  47. Seung Song, RHP: Problems with durability, still trying.
  48. John-Ford Griffin, OF: Disappointing for both statheads and traditionalists, has not developed as expected.
  49. Kurt Ainsworth, RHP: Slagged his arm.
  50. Abraham Nunez the Outfielder, OF: Age-Gate.
Once again, injury attrition took a big toll on the pitchers. We also see more examples of some guys with "old player" skills not developing as anticipated. . .Choi, Pena, etc.

In the big picture, we don't know exactly how most of these guys will pan out, since this list was generated just three years ago. Burroughs could look a lot better if he develops more power.

The weirdest oddity is Juan Cruz ranking one slot ahead of Mark Prior. I remember spending a lot of time trying to decide who to rank higher. I loved Prior coming out of college, but he signed late and there was no professional data to work with. I ultimately went with what I thought was the "safer" choice, picking the guy with pro experience over the one without. It looks silly now.